Skagit County debating fluoridation of water supply
January 16, 2007
By ROB PIERCY / KING 5 News
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Putting fluoride in public water supplies - some call it "preventive medicine," others call it "forced medication."
It's a debate that's been raging throughout Western Washington for years.
In a room that usually sees but a handful of people during county commission meetings, there was standing room only. Almost everyone was there to talk about fluoridating Skagit County's water supply.
"This is one of the ten most effective public health actions in the last century," said Dr. Harold Clure.
An advisory vote in November proved people wanted to fluoridate a reservoir, but by a narrow margin of only 4 percent.
Taking that vote and this testimony into consideration, county commissioners will make the final decision.
Tuesday, they got an earful.
"There is absolutely no reason, no sanity for fluoridating," said Dr. Bill Osmundsen.
"It makes all the sense in the world because it prevents disease and that's what we want to do, we want to prevent disease for our patients," said Dr. Christine Johnson.
There are countless studies touting the effectiveness of fluoride in preventing tooth decay, especially in children.
Other studies suggest it can over time lead to other health problems.
"Obesity, heart disease, cancer," said Dr. Jess Groesbeck.
The debate happening in Skagit County is not unique. In past few years, some cities in Pierce County decided to add fluoride to their water systems, whereas the City of Bellingham decided against it.
As of now, a little more than half of the state's water supply has fluoride.
Where there is no fluoride in the water, some parents give their children fluoride drops. Some said that's the way it should be where people not politicians decide what's best for their health.
It could be several weeks before commissioners make a decision on fluoridation.